Today’s Word: ‘Connected’ as in… connected people connect people.

I was with some students and getting into our van when we heard someone yelling obscenities. These were full-bore, foul invectives backed up with a rage that really concerned me. Fifty yards away, someone in a car was screaming at an employee through a drive-through window. As I walked toward this ugly commotion, the car sped off and disappeared into the otherwise beautiful Saturday morning.

When I got to the drive-through window and looked in, I saw a small group of employees gathered around their coworker; the one who bore the brunt of the ugly experience. She was in tears. Approaching the window, I asked if everything was okay. What the manager told me revealed that everything was not okay. The 16 year old employee had accidently miscounted the change due back to the driver. He then looked at me with that “you’re-really-not-going-to-believe-this” kind of look:

“It was only 11 cents. She missed the correct change back by 11 cents.”

Let’s just pause a moment to let that sink in.

There’s a well-known phrase for moments like that. When someone deliberately hurts another human being, we say “Hurt people hurt people.” Neither the driver of the car nor the young woman whom he’d verbally abused had any sense of thriving in those moments. Yet, the connectedness between those workers began to reorient that young girl back toward thriving. And the thriving began to emerge from the connectedness that she had with her coworkers.

Thriving healthy relationships come from communities that are willing to invest in one another for the sake of deeper connectedness.

Those caring coworkers who gathered around their wounded sister were invested in showing her a deeper kind of hospitality. It’s the kind of hospitality that makes us aware of the similarity between the words ‘hospitable’ and ‘hospital.’ While they are different words, they are similar in the sense that the amount of trust and respect along with an enormous amount of care and compassion becomes part of the power of a connected community filled with rich relationships.

It’s where loved people love people.


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